MPL: The newly formed unicorn

Key Takeaways:

  • Mobile Premier League becomes extremely popular during Covid 19 lockdown.
  • About the Startup and founders
  • MPL enters unicorn club at $2.3 billion valuation
  • Growth strategy of MPL

Mobile Premier League (MPL), an esports gaming platform, has now become a unicorn after raising $2.3 billion in a Series E fundraising round sponsored by Legatum Capital, Sequoia, SIG, RTP Global, Go-Ventures, Moore Strategic Ventures, Play Ventures, Base Partners, Telstra Ventures, and Founders Circle Capital were among the existing investors who took part in the round.

During the COVID 19 lockdown, MPL became extremely popular, with its activity base increasing by 3-3.5 times. The esports and skill gaming platform just launched in the United States and completed two years of operations in Indonesia, making it the only Indian mobile gaming platform with a developing international footprint. MPL presently has over 85 million registered members worldwide. Blogs about Fantasy Football, Fantasy Cricket, IPL, Poker, Rummy, and Fantasy Basketball can be found on the website.

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The “Match Prediction” tool on the website of MPL is one of its most intriguing features. With the increase in the number of online gaming platforms, fantasy players have developed a demand for the match prediction. The prediction in MPL entails examining the numerous aspects relating to the teams and players participating in the particular match and predicting which team will win the cricket match. Team Rankings, Team Statistics, Player Performance Statistics, Pitch Condition, Weather Condition, Recent Player Performance, Home Advantage, and Team News are some of the criteria taken into account for prediction in the online gaming platform.

On its MPL Pro app, the brand has also added a Fantasy Assistant tool that gives users advice on a variety of aspects such as pitch and bowling type, past performance, and records of teams and players, as well as a forecast of the top 11 players to pick. It has also teamed with Deep Dasgupta, a former Indian national team player, for a Fantasy Deep Dive series in which he will engage in live sessions and share his experience and advice with users during the IPL 2021 and the upcoming T20 season.

MPL’s shareholding as of August 2021

About MPL

Sai Srinivas Kiran G and Shubh Malhotra launched the Mobile Premier League, India’s largest mobile e-sports platform, in 2018. The business claims to have taken customers’ passion for mobile gaming and given it a different take. Fantasy cricket, Fruit Chop, 8-Ball 3D Pool, chess, World Cricket Championships, quiz, rummy, poker, and Bubble Shooter are mostly just a few of the games available on MPL. Customers’ gaming interactions are emphasized by offering a variety of tournaments and 1v1 matches around the clock. as soon as the results are announced, the winners of the games are rewarded with significant monetary prizes and these rewards can be cash out via Paytm, UPI, or bank transfer. The business works with third-party developers on almost 70 games on its platform. The company’s current sports merchandise brand, MPL Sports, has taken over from Nike, a major global brand, as the exclusive kit supplier and merchandising partner of the U-19 team and national cricket men’s and women’s teams.

Who are the founders?

One of the Co-founders and CEO of the Mobile Premier League is Sai Srinivas Kiran G, an IIT Kanpur graduate. He’s also the CEO of Base9 online services and entertainment Pvt Ltd, which he co-founded. He has also worked with U2opia Mobile as a product manager, developer, and analyst, as well as Zynga as an Associate Product Manager. In addition, he co-founded CREO Tech, which was acquired by Hike Messenger.

Shubh Malhotra, another co-founder, graduated from Pilani’s Birla Institute of Technology and Science. He was also the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of CREO Tech. He has also worked for Capillary Technologies as a product manager.

About the agreement so far

According to Sai Srinivas Kiran G, the startup’s co-founder and CEO, MPL plans to use the additional funds to finance its global expansion, invest in its in-house technology, and continue to grow in the Indian market.

The recent investment demonstrates the country’s gaming business and esports industry’s potential. He said that the startup’s success in India and Indonesia inspired them to expand to the United States. He stated that the startup’s activities in the US market, which is the world’s largest gaming market, are doing well, and that the company is trying to become the world’s esports and gaming center.

Mark Stoleson, the CEO of Legatum Capital, who has recently joined the board of the firm, said that the company’s investment in MPL demonstrates the company’s approach.

The company announced a partnership with the Play Magnus Group, which has been established by chess legend Magnus Carlsen, in early September. MPL is all set to host the official Indian Circuit for players to qualify for the Meltwater Champion Chess Tour. The Champion Chess Tour asserts that this is going to be the first-ever regional expansion.

MPL's growth strategy

MPL has the answer to any questions you might have about why companies are targeting high-profile brand associations like the Indian Premier League. With its large partnerships with teams and other significant shows, the company has been in the spotlight this year as well. MPL has also served as the presenting sponsor of the reality show Bigg Boss, in addition to sponsoring two IPL teams (Kolkata and Bengaluru) last year. For more information regarding the latest marketing updates, you can visit our website by clicking here.

Big Boss, according to Madhavan, is one of India’s most popular television programs, second only to the IPL in terms of reach and viewership. It spans continents and is hosted by a Hollywood icon. The firm is exploring how to use these partnerships to attract consumers to its new live streaming tools, which allow content creators to present and monetize their live shows.

“Everyone in India who possesses a smartphone is our target audience,” Madhavan explained, “which is why we’re focusing on marketing.” “It’s a huge requirement that’ll only grow as people will use the internet and cellphones more frequently. “However, what is the return on investment (ROI) on these marketing expenditures? Like many other competing businesses, Madhavan asserts that the goal of these marketing expenditures is to become a “household name in India.”

MPL claims that the partnership has given them a lot of traction, which has helped them grow their user base. It also features Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli as a brand ambassador, who generates a lot of buzz. Although MPL can attract a large number of users as a result of these high-profile partnerships, metrics like user retention and repeat rate will still be influenced by variables like a solid product offering and a positive user experience.

The company, however, says, that user retention is high, with the average user playing at least six games on the platform. None of the games on the MPL platform are created by the firm; instead, it operates on a marketplace model in which developers can join and build games based on MPL’s concepts. This strategy also aids the company’s growth by reducing the amount of effort and time required to develop this game portfolio. MPL can succeed because of extremely low-cost handsets, essentially unlimited internet and, a secure payment system in the form of UPI. People from throughout the country could pay any amount to anyone via UPI, and a secure payment gateway boosted people’s confidence.

MPL to partner with leading E-Commerce platforms

MPL apparel is currently available on Amazon, Myntra, and Flipkart for the Indian cricket team.

Cricket fans in India may now order official Indian cricket team goods to be delivered to their homes. MPL Sports, the official kit sponsor of the Indian Men’s, Women’s, and Under-19 Cricket Teams, said today that it has formed a collaboration with Amazon, Myntra, and Flipkart to develop its retail operation in India. With this introduction, the apparel company intends to make official Indian Cricket Team products more accessible to cricket fans throughout the country. These sites will debut the whole assortment of official jerseys, training gear, and lifestyle wear.

 Fig. Team India Retro Cricket Jersey of MPL apparel on E-Commerce

The official stuff will be available in all serviceable cities across the country for just 999 dollars. This is the first time that official Team India apparel will be widely available for Indian supporters at reasonable costs. “This is the first time in India that Team India apparel would be accessible on a variety of e-commerce platforms,” Shobhit Gupta, Head – MPL Sports, said in response to the announcement. Fans will now have more opportunities to get their hands on their favorite team goods and proudly wear the team colors as the action-packed cricket season approaches.”

MPL achieves break-even; plans to expand globally

MPL has a break-even, which is one of the reasons why the corporation is comfortable placing worldwide investments. MPL has a break-even, which is one of the reasons why the corporation is comfortable placing worldwide investments. “Now, we’re putting all of our money into attracting top tech talent from around the world to help us build a product that can serve the rest of the world”, said Sai Srinivas, co-founder, and CEO.

Over 800 people work for the gaming platform in Bengaluru, Pune, Jakarta, Singapore, and New York. MPL is an esports platform that has onboarded over 70 games after working with numerous game developers. MPL began operations in Indonesia two years ago and claims to have between 700,000 and one million monthly paying customers. MPL has approximately 85 million registered users worldwide, and each user is estimated to play 10 to 15 games on the platform on average.

“For me, it’s a significant issue that there are 70,000 or a million monthly paying consumers. That implies I now have a distribution platform on which I can layer various game types,” said Srinivas.

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Uncertainty in regulations

MPL competes in India against Dream11, WinZO, Paytm First Games, and BalleBaazi, to name a few. According to the research ‘Online gaming in India-The GST conundrum’ by EY and the All-India Gaming Federation (AIGF), the Indian online gaming business reached $1 billion in 2020 and is predicted to reach $2 billion by 2023 in terms of rake fees received. For a long time, India’s online gaming regulations have been ambiguous. Online rummy had previously been prohibited in places such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Nagaland, and Sikkim. A similar ban, however, failed to pass in Tamil Nadu, where the high court ruled that online rummy requires a high level of skill dominance and thus cannot be deemed gambling.

Online games in formats like online fantasy sports (OFS) and online rummy have been required to exhibit skill superiority in their specific formats due to varied state rules. While court precedents have recognized OFS and online rummy as games of skill, the Bombay high court is still considering skill domination in the game of Ludo. When it comes to the impact of changing regulatory environments, Srinivas says that if one of the platform’s 70 games is outlawed in a particular area, MPL removes that game from that state. He went on to say that it’s comparable to how Netflix removes movie titles if they’re banned in a specific location.

“We are quite mindful of the regulations and we prefer that they remain in place. At the same time, we engage closely with authorities to clarify the subtleties and suggest that all games should not be lumped together. However, nothing can be accomplished in a single day; everything needs time. The latest developments, particularly the Supreme Court and Madras High Court rulings on fantasy sports, are excellent developments for the business since they pave the way for unambiguous regulations,” Srinivas stated.

The recent year has been a watershed moment for the online gaming business, with the nationwide shutdown and COVID-19-related limitations assisting the industry’s phenomenal growth. While the online entertainment industry is through a period of rapid expansion, the business models of many organizations in the real-money skill games area have come under increased legal and regulatory scrutiny in recent months.

Alisha Singh

Content writer

Shivang Mishra

Graphic Designer

Vidhi Das

Editor 

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